The World Health Organization (WHO) listed the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
So far, the Mexican health authorities have not made public their position on the suspension of work. But, if the health authorities declare a stoppage of work, the employer must legally pay the workers a minimum compensation equivalent to one day of the current general minimum wage (MXN 123.22 per day) for each day of suspension, without this exceeding a month, per the provisions of Article 429, section IV of the FLL. It will be important to issue the correct CFDI electronic receipt with the concept of health contingency for it to be considered correct.
In a manner of acting with solidarity, many companies of all sizes have agreed with their employees to pay in full or partially during this trying period. We will be glad to coordinate videoconferences with our labor team to discuss these issues with you and your labor counsel. It is crucial to think of these items before they take place, so they don’t show up as a surprise.
Below, we briefly explain the effects that this situation can generate in work environments, as well as the impact at corporate levels. For this, we are providing an essential guide of considerations and actions to take in these cases. This guideline can also serve as a basis for dealing with future contingencies.
One option that some companies consider in these cases is working remotely or telecommuting. The FLL defines remote work, in its article 311, as that usually carried out in the worker’s home or a place chosen by her/him, using computer and communication technologies, traditionally provided by the employer.
If this modality applies to your business sector, it is vital to establish the applicable rules in this regard in the internal work regulations. The individual employment contracts for employees who are candidates for this modality must consider them as well. We will gladly converse with your labor counsel to this effect if you would like. Employees working in this fashion should be paid in full.
As it has already been mentioned, at the time of writing this communication, the competent authorities have not declared a health contingency. However, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and as protection for employees and society in general, employers may – in agreement with the workers or the union that manages the collective labor contract – schedule the execution of technical stoppages in which work is temporarily suspended, paying only the portion of the salary agreed by both parties.
In a technical stoppage, the benefits and social security of the days of suspension are paid proportionally to the agreed salary.
The agreements for technical stoppages, signed by the employer and the union or a representative chosen by the workers, must be validated by the Labor Conciliation and Arbitration Board.
Once the health contingency is over, the workers will return to their regular work schedule, without the employer preventing it.
If the work suspension lasts more than one month, the obligation for workers to provide the service is also suspended – as is the commitment of the employer to pay their salary – without any responsibility for either the employee and the employer
When an employee contracts COVID-19 or a highly contagious disease:
According to article 42, section I, of the FLL, the worker’s infectious disease is a reason for temporary suspension of the obligation to provide the service and pay the salary, without liability for the worker and the employer.
In this case, the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) assumes the obligation to pay the salary, covering the corresponding disabilities. The suspension applies from the moment the employer is made aware of the contagious disease until the end of the isolation period set by the IMSS.
Also, the employer must comply with the measures that the health authority establishes in his workplace. If a suspension of total or partial work is determined in the workplace, the employer must pay the compensation of a daily minimum wage for up to one month to each worker to whom such suspension applies.
Obligations of Employers
• If the health authorities declare a work suspension, pay the workers compensation equivalent to one day of the general minimum wage in force for each day the suspension lasts, which will not exceed one month.
• As an employer, you must provide your workers with preventive supplies as determined by the health authority in locations with endemic diseases or when there is a risk of an epidemic.
• In a health emergency, you must abide by the provisions established by the competent authority, in addition to providing your workers with the elements indicated by said authority, to prevent contagion. These are typically the best practice items we are all aware of: hand sanitizer, clean environments, promoting the concept of small teams.
Hoping that this information will be useful to you, we want to remind you of our availability should you have questions regarding salaries or the employment situation of your workers. We will work closely with your legal advisors to guide you in this difficult time.